The Shannara Chronicles premiered the other night with “Chosen: Part 1 and 2,” and in “Chosen: Part 1 and 2,” the audience was introduced to Amberlee, Wil and Eretria.
Amberlee is an elf princess whose destiny is tied to a mystical tree; Wil is a half elf/half human who has magic running through his veins; and Eretria is a human rover (bandit) struggling to achieve freedom. These three are all tied to each other, and in the first episode it is shown how they all meet one another and how they are involved with a mystical tree that binds demons and a rising demon army.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“Chosen: Part 1 and 2” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.
There were a couple of named women in “Chosen: Part 1 and 2” and there were a few instances where some of these named women talk to each other, but because there was never an instance where named women talk to each other without mentioning men, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. “Chosen: Part 1 and 2” also failed to pass the Russo and race test.
“Chosen: Part 1 and 2” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. The episode did not pass the race test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Chosen: Part 1 and 2,” there was never an instance where two or more non-White individuals talked to each other.
*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man
**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The show contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect
***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person
****Just because a show passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in television. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the show.